Long Beach's health department has recently confirmed the city's first case of St. Louis encephalitis (SLEV) since 1984. The infected individual was hospitalized but is now recovering at home, with no additional cases identified in Long Beach so far. This case, part of a dozen detected statewide this year, highlights the ongoing risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.
SLEV is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes, related to the West Nile virus, and presents similar symptoms. Most infected individuals may not exhibit symptoms, but those over 50 or with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for serious effects, including neurological and brain complications, potentially leading to death.
Mayor Rex Richardson emphasized the importance of community involvement in preventing further cases, stating, "Mosquito control is a shared responsibility." The health department is actively working with healthcare providers to educate the community about SLEV and encourage preventive measures.
Residents are advised to take proactive steps against mosquito bites, especially at dawn and dusk when these mosquitoes are most active. Using repellents containing DEET, wearing loose-fitting clothing, eliminating standing water sources, and keeping vegetation well-trimmed are key strategies to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
As the city's health officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, reminds us, "The first confirmation of SLEV in Long Beach should serve as a reminder that we need to protect ourselves against mosquitoes." The Health Department urges residents to report any issues regarding mosquito control in their areas, underscoring the collective effort needed to safeguard against these diseases.
Story First Appeared in LA Times: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-11-10/southern-california-confirms-the-first-case-of-st-louis-encephalitis